Netflix is seriously making 2021 better for kdramas, a lot better than anticipated and their newest series “Move To Heaven” is a testimony of what they could bring to the table in terms of content for Korean dramas.
Netflix’s newest release “Move To Heaven” was released on May 14. Led by Lee Je Hoon, Tang Joon Sang and Hong Seung Hee. The drama focuses on a trio that runs a cleaning service to clean and arrange items left by the deceased.
Today, I am here to discuss my thoughts on the drama and why its simply one of the best of 2021.
Note: this is a spoiler-free review, this is a subjective review.
T/w: discussion of death
“Move To Heaven” idea is very intriguing to say the least. Some of you might be aware of such teams or such a job existing but I bet to some others, this was a new thing.
I might sound dumb right now, but honestly, up until last year I wasn’t aware there were specialized professionals that clean after the deceased, which seems dumb on my part but I guess I never thought of it ever.
There is a YouTube channel that follows an American company team as they clean up crime scenes, suicide scenes, hoarder situations and such. I stumbled upon them last year and I was both sad and surprised at the same time. Their attitude and respect towards the deceased really moved me. It also offered a rare insight into what happens to human bodies and how certain scenes must be cleaned up, and since I’ve watched many of their videos, I actually thought it was so cool how “Move To Heaven” operated in a similar fashion and how accurately it depicted different scenarios of how to take care of places where the deceased passed away.
This is not to say “Move To Heaven” is based on that YouTube series because it is not, it is based on a nonfiction essay by Kim Shae Byeol who is the first person in Korea to arrange articles left by the deceased.
It is an interesting idea for a drama, it is something that is both fresh and worth exploring at the same time. With the right stories, you won’t easily run out of content or ideas to discuss and incorporate into your script.
“Move To Heaven” is 10 episodes long but not only does it not feel long but is also amazingly written. If you try to find flaws in the drama, then good luck, because story-wise, it won’t be easy to achieve this. It is one of those stories that are sensible, beautifully and logically written. Characters actually behave like real human beings rather than caricatures and the stories feel so real that your heart will ache.
I binge watched it in one sitting. And not only was I not bored at all but I cried in almost every episode. The stories are presented with care and are carefully crafted that you can’t help but forget this is a drama, it feels so real because these stories can and does happen in real life. There are some twists here and there but they’re done so well and not played for dramatics, every action results in an appropriate reaction and every character action is accounted for.
Why “Move To Heaven” might not be for everybody
The drama discusses different types of deaths and it brings closure to the family members in the most heartbreaking beautiful way possible. On one hand, you’re thankful for “Move To Heaven” team for their hard work but a part of you realizes even with their help, the death of a loved one will not be easily forgotten, it presents reality of death, and even if each story had closure, my heart still ached for the characters, and at times, it was overwhelming and I had to pause.
I am tearing up a bit writing this and I wouldn’t say I am the most emotional person out there, so imagine what would happen if a sensitive person or a person who could relate to one of the stories was to watch “Move To Heaven,” it won’t be easy to get through it. It doesn’t try to make you cry and it is not trying to be manipulative but the story comes out so well and so real that you just can’t help but cry.
I don’t cry much watching kdramas, even the sad ones. Not to say I don’t feel things but generally speaking some of the ‘sad’ scenes in kdramas can feel very manufactured and distant in my eyes, so I do feel sorry while I am watching but I don’t easily cry.
The last time I teared up so much was probably in 2018 when I watched IU’s masterpiece “My Mister.” One of my first thoughts when I began watching “Move To Heaven” is realizing that I might be in for a lot, I remember saying that I wasn’t told it was going to be this heavy.
Some of the stories in “Move To Heaven” struck a cord with me and even with the ones who didn’t I still felt deeply apologetic, sad and angry. All I could think of was ‘why them?’ why is it that nice people always have to suffer like this?’
“Move To Heaven” is an amazing drama but if you don’t like extensive discussion about death and suicide, this will not be easy to get through. Not because its bad or particularly graphic in nature, but because it can be triggering or difficult for some.
The beauty of “Move To Heaven” is that it doesn’t attempt to sugarcoat the part where you move on with your life after the death of a loved one. It is something that you learn to live with for the foreseeable future. There is this lingering feeling that even when you laid your loved to rest, their absence will be felt and it will be difficult to act as if everything was fine ever again.
How Netflix found its space in kdramaland
The beauty of Netflix kdramas [the ones that air exclusively on the network] is that I sense screenwriters not trying so hard to make you like the main characters. Broadcasting stations put restrains on screenwriters and so many kdramas can feel a bit formulative and I get it, they’re battling in a time slot for ads and for the sake of ratings must take certain choices in the plot to keep attention.
Netflix; on the other hand; is willing to pay top dollar and is investing heavily in the Asian market, specifically Korea because of the rise in demand for Hallyu content. I can sense they offer not only a bigger budget to work on riskier projects with but also more freedom since the drama will be up on an international platform and thus, K-netizens couldn’t easily complain as much as they would do at times with certain kdramas.
While I was vocal about my hesitance to accept Netflix’s aggressive advancement into the Korean market, I can see that they’ve had a positive impact on the industry and have given chances for projects to happen that would’ve otherwise been either too costly or too risky to make.
Lee Je Hoon is on a roll y’all. I’ve been a fan for a while and I’ve always thought he was deeply underrated and deserved way more attention, I am so glad he’s getting it.
I honestly watched this drama because of him and I wasn’t that aware of the content, I watch anything he does and I’ve seen almost all of his movies since he doesn’t do dramas a lot. In 2021, he is truly shining and I am so here for it. I am so happy for him.
In my opinion, his performance in this drama is his best in recent memory. I liked his performance here more than the one he’s currently starring in because this one felt more natural. At times, it feels like he’s trying to appear ‘so cool’ in “Taxi Driver” but here, his character is annoying, abrasive and terrible at times. In that role, he wasn’t trying to impress anyone which I likes better.
Everyone in this drama was simply amazing and I was so happy with the actors who made special appearances in the drama including Lee Jae Wook and Sooyoung. Lee Jae Wook is amazing as always, his part was short but important, he’s so talented and its a blast to watch him act. I can’t wait for his next drama.
Tang Joon Sang has been around for a long time and he’s grown to be such a talented young man. He truly shines here and is the center of the drama. I didn’t expect him to be this good, I’ve been watching him in dramas for a while but this could arguably be labeled his best performance to date as well.
Hong Seung Hee was also great, albeit annoying, still great. Her character could be overbearing at times but it feels real. I grew to like her a lot. Ji Jin Hee was also simply amazing.
So these are my thoughts on the drama, if you haven’t watched it and decided to check it out do let me know if you liked it.And if you’ve watched it, I am interested to hear what you have to say, let me know in the comment section below!